The 2021 Invasive Species Art Contest: “Don’t Let It Loose” is sponsored by the Washington Invasive Species Council and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Contest Rules

The “Don’t Let It Loose” campaign teaches people the dangers of releasing pets and plants into the wild, as well as responsible alternative actions. This year’s art contest has a special focus on aquariums due to the recent detection of invasive mussels in pet store aquarium moss balls.

Entries must depict invasive species that might be released into Washington’s waters, parks, and wildlands, along with messaging such as, but not limited to:

  • Releasing invasive species can harm Washington’s native plants and animals
  • Description(s) of one or more species that could be released into waters, parks, or wildlands
  • Explanations or illustrations showing other ways to rehome unwanted pets or plants, or safely dispose of aquarium species and accessories.

For examples and ideas visit: https://invasivespecies.wa.gov/campaigns/dont-let-it-loose/

How to Submit                                                                                                                                          

All types of media are welcome and encouraged – drawings, paintings, animations, comic strips, videos, public service announcements, songs, etc.

  • If you create a 3D art piece, please submit a photo (or a few photos) of your masterpiece. Please, do NOT send in the actual structure.

Submissions must be received between April 19 to May 14, 2021. Submissions may be submitted by email or mail. To qualify, participants must complete and submit an entry form in addition to their artwork.

Electronic submission: invasivespecies@rco.wa.gov

Mailing Address: PO Box 40917, Olympia WA 98504-0917

Note: All submissions become property of the Washington Invasive Species Council and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The agencies reserve all rights for the artworks use in publications, in media, online, and in social media. These are not exclusive rights. Artists can use their own submissions freely for other projects.

Winning and Prizes

Winners will be chosen in four age divisions: 5-9; 10-14; 15-18; and 19+. Winners from each division will receive awards (ranging from stickers to Amazon gift cards!) and have their artwork displayed on the Washington Invasive Species Council and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Web site(s).

1st place: $60 Amazon gift card

2nd place: $30 Amazon gift card

3rd place: $15 Amazon gift card

Amazon gift cards will be awarded by age division: ages 5-9, ages 10-14, ages 15-18, ages 19+.

Contest Background

What is “Don’t Let It Loose”?

This contest is sponsored by the Washington Invasive Species Council and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of the “Don’t Let It Loose” campaign. The goal of the campaign is to increase public awareness of the dangers of releasing into the wild pets and plants that later become invasive species. This campaign encourages people to take steps to combat Washington’s invasive species and their impacts on our natural resources. 

What are invasive species?

Invasive species include non-native organisms that cause economic or environmental harm and can spread to new areas of the state. (Domestic livestock, intentionally planted crops, or non-harmful exotic organisms are not considered invasive species.)

Learn more about Washington invasive species at https://invasivespecies.wa.gov/.

What is the Washington Invasive Species Council?

The Washington Invasive Species Council was established by the State Legislature in 2006 to coordinate invasive species prevention efforts around the state to sustain Washington’s human, plant, and animal communities and our thriving economy.

What should aquarium owners know?

In March 2021, several states reported the presence of both live and dead zebra mussels at pet store retailers nationwide. Retailers quickly acted to pull the product from shelves and place them in quarantine. The wholesale distributors out of California and Florida were notified, and shipments into the country were ceased. For more details, and instructions for destroying infested moss balls read the March 4, 2021 news release, and watch the YouTube instructional video.

How can I stay involved?

Get the app and get involved! With a guardian’s permission you can download the WA Invasives app and identify and report invasive species in your community. It’s FREE!